A typical Sunday afternoon at Sunset Park involves people having fun while participating in activities such as volleyball, baseball, jogging or picnicking.
However, in the park’s northeast corner, among the shadows of tall and robust trees, a group of people can be found doing something different as they practice a sport many consider extreme.
The sport is slacklining, in which people walk and balance on a line of nylon or polyester tightened between two anchor points: trees, in the case of Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road.
The slacklines vary in width from 1 to 2 inches and are tensioned and flexible enough for people to walk on and perform tricks such as flips. In more extreme instances, slacklines are sometimes strung along canyon tops, where people are attached to the lines and wear harnesses to get across.
“There are places out in Red Rock where you can do high lines that are 40 and 50 feet off the ground,” said 23-year-old Lisa Capistrant. “But at the park, the highest we go is about 5 feet off the ground.”
Capistrant, who co-owns Nevada Climbing Centers and has been slacklining for more than two years, incorporated slacklining into the activities offered at her gym. As for rock climbers, slacklining is an in-between activity.
“People started slacklining when they were taking a break from climbing and waiting for their arms to de-pump,” Capistrant said. “It’s just a good in-between activity because with slacklining, you can exercise your legs and core without having to sit out for 20 minutes or so while your arms rest from climbing.”
Some climbers liked slacklining so much, however, that they started the LV Slackline Group at facebook.com/lasvegaslackers to set up meetings with others and practice slacklining in an outdoor setting.
Tyler Lomprey, 22, is one of the founders of the group, which has 117 members. He uses the group to get members together in what they call Slacking Sundays. On those days, group members meet at Sunset Park, or sometimes Paradise Park, 4775 McLeod Drive, to practice, teach each other new tricks and meet new people who may be interested in the sport.
“The club was created about a year ago, and it has grown since then,” Lomprey said. “When we come to Sunset Park, there are a lot of familiar faces. There are also other people who see us slacklining, become interested and want to try it.”
Lomprey said one of the most enjoyable things about Slacking Sundays at Sunset Park is that it lets other people know about the group and the sport.
“The group is like a community, and when we meet up, it allows us to teach others about slacklining,” he said. “Anyone who sees us here and wants to try and learn is welcome.”
Ruby Hernandez, a mother of a toddler and a baby, had her first slacklining experience Feb. 23 during one of the club’s Slacking Sundays.
“I have never seen anything like it before,” she said. “It looked really cool, so I approached them and asked them about it. They are really nice and welcoming.”
Hernandez said she became curious about slacklining because it looked fun to her, and she thought it would be something she could pursue.
“It is cool that they are here at Sunset Park because I would have never found out about slacklining otherwise,” she said. “They helped me walk across the line, and it was fun and exciting. I loved it.”
Slacklining can be intimidating for people at first, but as a group, the experienced slackliners are happy to help novices get over their fears and reach their potential if they stick with the sport.
“As long as you have someone who is nice, helpful and can teach you the few key tips to slacklining, it becomes really easy,” said Ian Clark, co-owner of Nevada Climbing Centers. “Plus, it really is not that dangerous. You don’t hear about a lot of accidents in slacklining.”
Given that more people are enjoying slacklining and joining the Facebook group, gathering for the sport has given slackliners at Sunset Park a community feeling, Capistrant said.
“I definitely think there is a slacklining community in Las Vegas,” she said. “Everyone is nice and willing to help others be a part of it. We are a really inviting and open community. Everyone is welcome to come and participate.”
Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter Maria Agreda at firstname.lastname@example.org.